7th Time Around the best?

How does this Patriots squad stack up against the previous six Super Bowl trips?

by Sam Forman | @SamWForman | Mail@3PSMag.com

When New England rolls into Super Bowl LI in Houston the franchise will be making its recorded breaking ninth super bowl appearance.

The game will also make the seventh trip to the biggest game in football for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. But where does his seven super bowl teams rank. Well let’s find out.

7)  2011 Patriots – The 2011 edition of the New England Patriots show a 13-3 regular season and the fifth AFC Championship for Belichick. This one comes in at number seven simply because its one of two Super Bowls the Pats have lost under Belichick. The Patriots lost their second Super Bowl to the New York Giants in five years, with this one coming in a 21-17 loss the the G-men in Indianapolis. New England came into the matchup with the best offense in terms of total offense per game, averaging 427.9 yards per game. The Pats where also fourth in passing yards per game, seventh in rushing yards per game, but a defense that was ranked 25th in total defenses per game. The Pats defense is what lost them the game and puts the 2011 team in last place on this list

6) 2001 Patriots- Belichick’s first Super Bowl team comes in sixth due to its regular season record. The Pats finished the regular season with a 11-5 record and was in large part a cast of no names. The Pats finished the regular season outside of the top five in each of the top three offensive and defensive categories. In fact their highest rated category was in rushing yards per game where they finished 13th. On defense they were 19th in rushing defense and outside the top 20 in both total defense and passing defense. In fact, despite going to the half with a 14-3 lead the than St. Louis Rams out gained the Pats 427-267 in total yards. Where the 2001 Patriots excelled was in the kicking game with Adam Vinatieri and it was his 48-yard field goal as time expired that gave Belichick is first Super Bowl win.

5)  2003 Patriots – The 03 squad won Belichick his second Super Bowl in three years and went 14-2 in the regular season. This is where we really started to find out just how good Tom Brady was going to be and just how talented the Pats defense would become. Brady passed for 3,620 yards and had 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Patriots also had the third leading rusher in the NFL that season in Antowain Smith. He raked up 642 yards and had three touchdowns, plus Deion Branch was the fifth leading receiver in the NFL that season. The defense was no slouch either as both Ty Law and Rodney Harrison where top five in Interceptions and Harrison was in the top five in tackles. Mike Vrabel and Jarvis Green also where both top five in sacks. Yet, Belichick’s second Super Bowl still came down to a 41-yard field goal by Vinatieri with nine seconds left to pull off the 32-29 win over Carolina after a fourth quarter that saw 37 combined points put up on the board.

4) 2004 Patriots – New England got its second straight Super Bowl win and the third in four years when the Pats beat Philadelphia 24-21. Brady again was a top five QB and Corey Dillon was third in the league in rushing. Deion Branch also had another solid year for the Pats as their lead receiver. While this Super Bowl was one the Pats owned despite what the scoreboard said. The game was about the Eagles late collapse and the start to the Patriots dynasty. Overall this was a solid season for New England, but this wasn’t the best Super Bowl team Belichick coached.

3) 2016 Patriots – This year squad comes in third and was a hard team to rank since their season isn’t over yet, but baring a major one sided win by Atlanta this year’s Patriots will wind up no worse than the third best Super Bowl team for Belichick. In fact, they could possibly crack the top two but that would take a very impressive and dominant win in Super Bowl LI. Tom Brady again rewrote an NFL record and that was with missing four games and he help to lead the Pats to being the fourth best offense in both total offense and passing offense. New England has also been in the top five all season in stopping the run. This one will drastically affect the Patriots, Belichick and Brady’s place in history win or lose, but for now this year’s team comes in third.

2) 2014 Patriots – The last Super Bowl team Belichick coached comes in second. 2014 was a year of great success for the Pats once again and it has to be viewed that way when you win the Super Bowl. Which is one reason this team finds its way to number two, that and its never say day attitude. The Pats fell to 2-2 after a 41-14 loss to Kansas City in Arrow Head, but then went on a seven game winning streak. The Pats also had to overcome a double digit defecate to the Ravens in the AFC Divisional round. Than we had the 45-7 dismantling of the Colts in the AFC title game, where underinflated footballs may or may not have been used. We’re not going to get into that debate here. The Pats put up 28 points on the Seahawks number one defense in the Super Bowl and while the season may be remembered for deflate gate and the Super Bowl for not giving Marshawn Lynch the ball late, it will go down as the second best Super Bowl team that Belichick has coached.

1) 2007 Patriots – This one hurts New England fans I’m sure, but the ultimate letdown comes in first on the list. This list is not about what the team did in the Super Bowl, but what they did that entire season and going 16-0 in the regular season should be recognized. That and going 18-1 makes this the best Super Bowl team Belichick has coached, despite not winning the title. Plus you can make the argument that luck had just a bit to do with the Pats not going 19-0. Overall it’s the almost perfect season that makes the 2007 Patriots the best Super Bowl team that Belichick has coached in New England.

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